The Houston Rockets have several strengths that have kept them in the Western Conference playoff picture into the season's final weeks, but their weaknesses have been what's kept them from being playoff locks.
Houston is currently clinging to the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. Sure, they aren't the No. 8 seed, but both the Los Angeles Lakers (No. 8) and the Utah Jazz (a half-game back of L.A.) are hot on their tails. With just eight more regular-season contests, the final two spots in the West are up for grabs.
Of the three squads, the Rockets have been a contender for the longest. Their 42-33 record isn't stellar, but the Rockets have beaten several tough opponents and have been a relatively consistent team. This would suggest that their strengths are on par with (if not better than) those of the Lakers and Jazz.
The weaknesses are what could be the nail in the coffin moving forward. Even if the Rockets make the playoffs, their weaknesses will give opponents the upper hand in each respective series.
There really isn't much time left to work on those faults, so it's just a matter of playing well enough to overshadow their downfalls.